Friday, August 15, 2008

Your Death

On the day that will always belong to you,
lunar clockwork had faltered
and I was certain. Walking
the streets of Manhattan I thought:
Remember this day. I felt already
like an urn, filling with wine.

To celebrate, your son and I
took a stroll through Bloomingdale's
where he developed a headache
among the copper skillets and
tiers of collapsible baskets.
Pain tracked us through
the china, driving us
finally to the subway
and home,

where the phone was ringing
with bad news. Even now,
my new daughter
asleep in the crib, I can't shake
the moment his headache stopped
and the day changed ownership.
I felt robbed. Even the first
bite of the tuna fish sandwich
I had bought at the corner
became yours.

Rita Dove

Rita Dove was Poet Laureate from 1993-1995. The Monrovia Public Library has her books American Smooth, Grace Notes, and On the Bus With Rosa Parks.

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